Tuesday, June 30, 2015

America-Bashing: Museum Style

One of today's offerings from The Guardian:  Museums and looted art: the ethical dilemma of preserving world cultures

Addressing the matter of looted art is a noble goal as the way Hitler had his staff ransack the world's art collections is common knowledge but less well-known is museums have been doing this for centuries.  Any museum wants a diverse collection of material but how each one acquires it varies considerably.

There are two topics of concern as looting of antiquities is an amusement when Indiana Jones does it but stealing such treasures is a crime against some other culture of the world and, in many cases, there has been no attempt to return the antiquities or make reparations for whatever may have been damaged.

That covers the first topic as looting antiquities is bad.  Got that.

However, what moves from bad to sucks outrageously is the focus of the article on American museums as they, seemingly, are the primary perpetrators.  My purpose has nothing to do with defensiveness regarding America but rather with what is the actual state of things.  America has acquired many antiquities while at the same time the British Museum has a great many antiquities it acquired from Greece and all over the world.

Greece has been trying for many years to get those antiquities returned but the British Museum will not send them back.  Melina Mercouri, star in "Never On Sunday," became a Minister of Culture for Greece and it was a major cause with her to get these treasures returned but she never had success with it.

Yet, that same country has a problem with how American museums acquire their booty.  The genesis of the article is unclear as it was written for The Guardian but it draws from some books and a New York Times article.  Regardless of how much cut and paste was used to write the article, the oversight regarding the British Museum glares.  For example, the Getty Museum is called out in multiple places but the British Museum is never even named.

This is some really twisted journo which could have been the good stuff but it took such a narrow focus it turned itself back into more of the same ol', same ol'.  Museums have committed some major cultural transgressions but identifying or implying America as the sole perpetrator is neither accurate nor helpful toward resolving or making amends for these offenses.

Genesis - Live - Remastered with HD Video / Audio - Full Concert

Genesis in a live performance from 1973.  There was already a version of "Supper's Ready" from this concert on YouTube but this one was prepared by The Genesis Museum and the audio quality is hugely improved.

All of them are incredible but the most remarkable for this period were Peter Gabriel's astounding portrayal of it and Phil Collins' outstanding drumming.  Steve Hackett and Tony Banks are incredibly incredible, as always, but people don't often think of Phil Collins as a drummer and sometimes they don't think of Peter Gabriel at all.  Others can do as they will but I regard this recording as a treasure.

Shepperton Studios, UK: 30/31 October 1973

Watcher of the Skies (0:00)
Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (8:36)
I Know What I Like (17:40)
The Musical Box (24:00)
Supper's Ready (37:10)

The last segment of "Supper's Ready" gets me misty every time.  You can interpret it any way you like and that's why it is so beautiful to me.  I've heard music in Catholic funerals and some of that stuff is so heartbreakingly beautiful you can't play it for any other type of situation.  "As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs" ending "Supper's Ready" has a similar kind of beauty and reverence.  Very few songs are haunting for me but this is one of them and it has been for a long, long time (start at about 55:00 to get some of the build-up for it as they were one hell of a prog rock band):

As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)

Can't you feel our souls ignite
Shedding ever changing colours, in the darkness of the fading night,
Like the river joins the ocean, as the germ in a seed grows
We have finally been freed to get back home.

There's an angel standing in the sun, and he's crying with a loud voice,
"This is the supper of the mighty one",
Lord of Lords,
King of Kings,
Has returned to lead his children home,
To take them to the new Jerusalem.

You can find a detailed analysis of the compositional complexity of the song in "Expression in Pop-rock Music: A Collection of Critical and Analytical Essays" by Walter Everett.  There is a comparison of motifs between this song and Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" and you can read more on the subject.

There has been a great deal of prog rock and even theater rock but, to my taste, no-one ever combined it better to such extraordinary musical effect with so much emotional sincerity and authenticity.  It may be even more moving today than it ever was as then I hoped music would blow me away and now I expect it from knowing finally which ones do it best.  "Supper's Ready" never fails.

About Starving the Cat

Yesterday I got a message from not such a nice person who said, "You starved my cat."

This was doubly-insulting as my wobbly corpus has been stumbling about to feed all those fat li'l duggars out there every morning, front and back.  All the while I'm telling Tobey the Dog, relax, pal.  He keeps jumping up and down and he hasn't knocked me over yet but that glory day will come.  Take it easy, buddy.

So I thought it only fair to tell this person what really happened:  "The cat didn't starve but was used in a Voodoo sacrifice to try to find where you left your car.  Your cat sends love from the spirit world."

The only response I got was, "Whatever."

It's tough to know what to make of it.  Apparently it was bad if I starved the cat but it was ok if I sacrificed it in a Voodoo ritual.

Welcome to the State of Texas.  Yee-haw!


Yevette was concerned you might think I meant her in this article and I have written previously of how she does 'witchy stuff' but you're being a wee bit too flexible with the language if you think witchy stuff includes starving cats or blood sacrifices in Voodoo rituals.  That's your basic distinction between white witches and crazy muddafuggas.

Unless you know someone who barks and chases cars down the street, you do not know the author of the original missive.

Joining the Aluminum Hat Society

The Aluminum Hat Society isn't something one joins but rather others decide you are already in it.  The judgment comes from average Americans ... who are typically less well-read than the average American Beagle.

The article yesterday regarding the U.S. and state-sponsored terrorism via the CIA which goes back at least to 1956 and is well-documented ... is also instant aluminum hat material because people don't believe it and rather than validating it they will relegate all of it to conspiracy theory.  (Blog:  One World Government and Other Bedtime Stories ... If You Like Nightmares)

A conspiracy theory implies to me something is secret but much of the CIA material is declassified years after the fact and that makes it public record information.  Examples I've quoted regarding Kissinger's engagement with the CIA to assassinate Salvador Allende is easily-verifiable ... but people won't do it because it's much easier to scream Aluminum Hat and then do nothing.

(Ed:  so what?)

It's a bitch when 'the enemy lies within' as the CIA has proven it is comprised of vicious, amoral savages so what can anyone less well-read than the average American Beagle do about it.

In my view, someone needs to hold the Presidents to task for it.  The full-out Aluminum Hat member believes the CIA operates above the President and does things without his / her authorization but I'm not buying that.  The standard routine with Presidents is to classify such activities to dodge any responsibility for them.  Often they get away with it but sometimes, such as with Bay of Pigs, it's such a blazing fiasco that it becomes widely-known ... but still very little is done about it.

The basis for classifying such activities is largely due to their gross illegality or, at best, inconsistency with standards of ethics which are regarded as American.  For example, it has been an American principle that the American military will only act defensively ... and yet the CIA has violated that principle multiple times through infiltration, incursion, and outright invasion.

Why is not the American President clearly and immediately accountable for everything the CIA does during his or her administration.  History shows that has not been true at any time in the CIA's past.

The only intrigue really left in America is how many people believe this is all hogwash from an Aluminum Hat Society or they know it's true and have just given up on being able to do anything about it.  None of this ever comes up in elections.  Frequently, CIA activity isn't even declassified until years later.  There is no accountability.

Monday, June 29, 2015

One World Government and Other Bedtime Stories ... If You Like Nightmares

The idea of a One World Government is sometimes an obscure threat of a socialist hegemony based around the United Nations.  Often it's a conspiracy of the Jewish bankers who secretly control everything in the world.  And then you get on into the (cough) really weird ideas.

The only substantive effort toward a One World Government has been more grossly illegal, violated more laws than the Mafia can ever dream, and has worked directly with the worst criminals in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the CIA, an organization which has waged a war against any type of left wing government ever since the fifties and continues to this day, unconstrained by any vestige of law or morality.

One of the early examples was the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende in 1961.  This was deeply troubling in many ways, one of which was that Eisenhower was arguably one of the best Presidents America has ever had and it was disturbing to believe he had anything to do with CIA policies of this nature.  Nevertheless, his engagement with the CIA for the specific purpose of undermining socialism was based on preventing the expansion of a Stalinist regime and is documented.  (Miller Center:  American President A Reference Resource)

In quick summary, Allende was the legally-elected socialist President of Chile and the CIA with advisement from Kissinger was instrumental in fomenting the revolution which overturned the country and resulted in Allende's death.  Allende died by suicide but this was after being cornered and he had nowhere else to go.  Whether he was a suicide or was murdered is only semantic quibbling.

The exceptional fiasco of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba belonged to Kennedy.  In all cases, whomever was President at the time is charged with responsibility.  Truman said 'the buck stops here' but in more recent times the buck hasn't stopped anywhere.  In this context, there's only one place it can stop, no matter how much whomever sits on the buck tries to duck it.

Che Guevara was assassinated in Bolivia when he went there to protest the right wing government.  The CIA with the help of ex-NAZI, Klaus Barbie, was behind that one as well.  This took place during Johnson's administration and the significance is the opposition to the overt presentation of the War on Poverty while at the same time waging in secrecy a war against the left through the CIA.

The opposition to US policy in leftist governments in South America, particularly Venezuela, is not surprising as they are well aware of what the CIA has been doing in the region and know they will be treated in exactly the same way.  Multiple recent Washington administrations have tried to demonize the Venezuelan government and it hasn't made any difference whether the administration has been left or right.

The CIA and its backroom death panel agenda have been functioning for over sixty years as they still decide to this day who lives and who dies.  The most disturbing aspect of this, beyond the absolute lack of morality and violation of law and integrity in what they do, is the agenda never changes from one administration to the next.  Regardless of whether the live administration in Washington has a lean toward Democrat or Republican, the CIA never leans and the anti-Stalinist agenda continues.  The key point to all of this is you have not one single word to say in what they do and haven't had for sixty years.

One blazing example of CIA arrogance was through General Keith Alexander and his partner in amorality, James Clapper, both of whom lied to Congress on multiple occasions and nothing was done.  The CIA has little or no accountability for anything it does and none of it represents America any more than the Trail of Tears and the monstrous crime of legitimatizing it.

If you want your One World Government, find who drives what the CIA does and you will have your huckleberry.  The irony is the targets of the agenda are most frequently those which have demonstrated little tendency toward imperialism in their histories (e.g. Russia and China) whereas America's history is riddled with it.  The ludicrous irony is in how America regards Britain as an ally in this and Britain is arguably history's greatest failure in imperialism.  All that's left of it is the Royals, a huge clock, and a mountain of debt ... which leaves Britain two-up on the United States as all it got for a prize was a mountain of debt.

There's Another Socialist in America: Lewis Black (video)

Lewis Black gave an extraordinarily touching talk for the National Press Club and he was brittle and nervous as a deer at a fireworks show, probably in large part because his parents, aged 96 and 95, were in the audience.  Black's topic was What Made Me This Way and that's not his normal focus as his comedy is in observations of the lunacy of the world rather than his own variety of it.  That was unnerving for him but the result was exceptional.

There were observations of my own while he spoke as his parents weren't teaching him anything except through the things they did.  It's a similar thing with my own parents as they weren't teachers, I just watched.  For me there is some wistfulness in it as there has never been a teacher of any guiding significance in my life except insofar as there was a lesson from my parents that learning comes only through observation.

Lewis Black's observation is what brought him to his conscience and that's where he came to his thoughts on socialism with his most novel observation, loosely paraphrased, that Christianity says you should take care of the poor whereas socialism takes the should out of it: you will take care of the poor.

Don't write an anti-Christian diatribe into what he said as that did not happen.  His focus is more toward what socialism is rather than what other things are not or do not do successfully.

To save a step for conservatives, some will say socialism doesn't do a good job of taking care of the poor but that's true of any government which is not run well.  There's a false premise of a socialist society in which everyone is dispensed precisely the same ration of everything and life is a vast boring plain in Maoist grey.

That works well for cartoons but 'the greatest good for the greatest number' or 'from each according to ability, to each according to need' and similar concepts do not mandate the dispensation to any two individuals must necessarily be the same unless their needs are the same.  In the Rockhouse view of socialism, it would not preclude someone having a Cadillac Escalade so long as ownership of it did not prevent others from getting whatever they need.

For any system of that nature to work, the concept of need has to be understood a whole lot better than it is now as any idea of a need for a Cadillac Escalade stretches believability beyond whatever we did to bring Tinkerbell back from the dead.

Some people need to breed thoroughbred horses and why not as this is something humans have done for thousands of years.  The ones who don't breed them many times like to watch them race or whatever they do because they're such elegant animals.  In this view of socialism, living closely with animals is a true need as opposed to an artificial consumer need because we become less human as we lose understanding of animals.

(Ed:  what happened to bashing richies?)

My purpose isn't to bash richies, per se, but rather the wastefulness of someone who would spend hundreds of millions on a yacht only a few people will ever use and which the owner probably can't even visit that much of the time because he has to get around to enjoy all his other richie amusements.

Being rich is a problem due the root paradigm that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Money gives power and a lot of money gives a lot of power.  This is inherently a problem and the stories of what comes from that are in a huge stack of Disintegration on Wall Street books to show the behavior of good ones, bad ones, etc.  The maniac behavior in foreign policy is just another example of the same thing.

A view many like to cast is of the giant constructions of George Orwellian apartment blocks with state-ordered locations for the residents.  The assumption is flawed because such housing is only necessary because Orwellian society is being drained by a corrupt leadership.  Were that not so, there's no reason housing has to change all that much from what it is today.  People get three-bedroom room houses because they need them not because they want to impress some dork in a Cadillac Escalade.

It's encouraging to hear Lewis Black talking about being a socialist.  He won't be a guide any more than anyone else but his position shows my observations were valid in the conclusions coming from them and that affirmation is a swell thing.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Colossus: The Forbin Project

Colossus is an ultra-powerful computer with enormous reach and such a computer will inevitably take over the world.  The original story was written in 1966 by D.F. Jones and the movie came out in 1970.  About fifty years later the Internet provides the backbone for Colossus and the prescience of Jones' vision becomes more apparent as the power of the Internet grows.  (WIKI:  Colossus: the Forbin Project)

The Internet has gained the intelligence in the same way as mycelium which is a network of tiny fibers created by fungus from which mushrooms rise as 'fruit.'  The largest one yet discovered was ten square kilometers, comprised entirely of interconnecting fibers.  Some say the massive number of connections creates a virtual entity beyond that of a switching mechanism and that applies to the Internet in the same way as mycelium.  This is something of the concept in "Avatar" in which everything communicated with everything else through some type of mycelium under everything.

Part of the idea of network intelligence comes from the drone armies hackers have been using for years to launch denial of service attacks.  Simple code is implanted in an enormous number of unsuspecting drone computers (i.e. yours) and it becomes a collective agent with a single purpose, sometimes sending an email to a single target and consequently crashing that server with the volume.

The next more sophisticated application of network intelligence is in SETI (i.e. Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) as this mechanism also uses, with consent, a large number of computers and the code implanted on them is more intelligent insofar as it searches through data looking for patterns but still all of the distributed 'minds' are doing the same thing, they only do it in different places (i.e. they search different parts of the sky but all search its assigned part in the same way).

Beyond that is the system in which the implanted code is intelligent enough to communicate with the other sites on which it is present and the compute power which could be brought to bear on any problem in this way is staggering.  There are references to 'cloud computing' sometimes but typically this refers to a central system which is shared by multiple others but the network intelligence is doing it the other way around as the thinking is spread to every computer possible rather than centralizing it.

The number of interconnections for the Internet is now starting another increase of a different kind via the iWatch and the real-time medical telemetry it will be providing.  The question hardly ever asked about these capabilities isn't regarding the first application but rather what is the second.  The medical information will at the outset go where it was designed to go, presumably some type of medical facility for interpretation, etc.  The second question is where else does it go.

In parallel with the idea of a virtual network mind is the NSA approach in Stockdale, UT, in which they are building such an enormous computer system that it over-taxes the area's ability to provide water and power.  The system must be powerful enough to monitor communications traffic from around the world all at once.  Presumably such a thing is impossible but it's the image they create.

Where Colossus grows out of this is through extension of the ultra-computing capacity of a complex such as that of the NSA when it has access to your physical record in data capture from various sources but the real-time medical means it also has access to your health, likely your mood, maybe it can even tell whether you're currently getting lucky with the one you were lucky to ever find in the first place.

It took fifty years for Jones' vision to even show one green tentacle of its ugly self but it won't take even five for people to be radiating their health information to the nearest WiFi hotspot.  Unknown how many people bought an iWatch but some subset of them will be doing it soon.

When the military isn't being sent off to kill the lizard people of the Island of Green and Purple Spots, the state gets a self-satisfactory pleasure out of legislating morality so the medical interconnectivity of the new state permits it to monitor what you're doing and most devices also transmit location information so they know where you're doing it and who is doing it with you.

Here's a hypothetical in case you don't believe the state would ever do that.  Pop quiz:  you're the judge and the pregnant woman before is back for the second time this term on a charge of drug abuse.  You can give a court order for a medical monitor which transmits her health information to her doctor and some state department such that fetal health can be monitored along with the presence of inappropriate drugs.  If she uses much more of any inappropriate drugs, the fetus will die.  What will you do.

Note to Captain Kirk:  No, you cannot shoot her and then save the kid with a Caesarean section.  Both live or it's a fail.

So far this isn't much of a nightmare vision but it gets better.  Even if the state has live knowledge of your current medical telemetry, it can't intervene.  At worst it can send you an illegal substance abuse virtual ticket.

The beauty part is with drone aircraft as the next full evolution of these types of aircraft shouldn't need any human pilot, even one based somewhere on the ground in Nevada.  Various types of autonomous devices are proposed but it doesn't seem there is any large-scale build-up of big drones which can operate independently.  That does seem inevitable and then it's not such a leap to envision Colossus as the control system.

The military is said to have an independent Internet but Colossus cracks whatever codes or cables separate that from the open Internet.  Then the Forbin Project can come to life.  That's not such a great prospect for humans ... unless you don't mind subservience to a machine.

Today's Genius in Journalism Award Goes to The Guardian

Here's the title which guarantees a podium finish in this class of Genius in Journalism and that's before reading one more word:  And the Pulitzer goes to… a computer

And the sub-heading moves the article to the win:  Computer-generated copy is already used in sports and business reporting – will machines soon master great storytelling?

Maybe those teasers encouraged you to read the article ... but probably not.  In general, it's another genuflection in the approximate direction of Artificial Intelligence.

Note:  always use capital letters for Artificial Intelligence and always say the words using appropriately reverential tones.

The level of intelligence of any kind required for sports reporting is not exactly that high as there isn't usually a circumstance such as a giant mutant earthworm rising out of the ground to eat the pitcher in a baseball game.  Since most sporting events can be reduced to the statistics which are retained about them, programming a report on those statistics isn't likely to attract the attention of the Nobel Prize committee any time soon.

In times gone by, great wizards compiled such reports after taking them to the Oracle of SAS as, even today, there probably is nothing more powerful for analyzing statistics.   Now some hip hop hamster hipster can do a poofier version of the same thing ... but it's still just a statistical report and is no more a sign of Artificial Intelligence than turning on a television and Fox News is displayed.

The larger question is whether machines will master storytelling but there may be part of the answer already in Jessica Valenti as there's a good chance she's a simulacrum, no real woman could possibly be that boring.

Note:  she's the journo equivalent of a Taylor Swift song (i.e. vacuous, self-absorbed, boring).

Storytelling is one of the great arts of humanity as much of our history as thinking creatures has been passed from generation to generation in exactly that way.  Hardly any of our history is in writing as we have existed as self-aware beings for about forty thousand years.  Only two thousand of those show much of anything for a written history and it's only in recent centuries that the printed word had any significance for the majority of humans.

Computers will be able to tell stories one of these days as anything can be programmed if enough people or monkeys with typewriters focus on writing it but the question isn't of the computer's ability to do it but rather why would anyone consider it a desirable thing.

There is a lot more thinking on the line of Artificial Intelligence as possibly the seminal example of the consequences of such thinking was presented in 1966 in "Colossus" by D.J. Jones which ultimately became the movie, "The Forbin Project," in 1970.  That thinking has been gestating for some days as I watched the movie again a few days back and have been integrating various other things.  Perhaps later today I'll complete that article and do expect it to be even less laudatory than this one regarding the potentials in Artificial Intelligence.

Did Hitler Start Out As a Demon

The question isn't an attempt at bad comedy as it was a real question to a conservative friend.  My thinking in the conversation was toward what was the only way I could discover if Hitler had always carried anti-Semitic thoughts in his head and some nightmare vision of exterminating them or did it happen some other way.  My belief prior to the discussion was I would have to read "Mein Kampf" to get some understanding of that but I didn't want to do it any more than I would want to read an autobiography of Charlie Manson or some such.

(Insert over years a whole lot of nature vs nurture, chicken and the egg type of thinking which, as it will, went around and around in circles)

My conservative friend offered a link to some key quotes from "Mein Kampf" and thus revealed, despite all evidence from Fox News, conservatives do sometimes have some useful perspectives on things.  You, dear reader, may wish to review the content at that link as I found it highly illuminating for this topic.  (Jewish Upps!:  Adolf Hitler about the Jews)

The quotes, taken directly from "Mein Kampf," show the progression in the thinking and this settles the matter, at least for me.  Hitler did not start out with any personal animosity toward Jews but rather learned that as part of the political path.  After he started on that thinking, his logic became more and more of a demonic sand castle as he made false accusations and used those as proofs for further accusations.

The progression from basic megalomanic to the monster he ultimately became is a personal psychology of Hitler rather than something more fundamental about humans.  Had I discovered Hitler had a long-standing animosity toward Jews, it would have been much more disturbing to me as then I would have needed to understand how he got that way because of the risk of the same thing happening to others.

What we discover is Hitler got his racism the same way seemingly as anyone else:  he was taught.

Note:  please do not for one moment think I am looking for an excuse for Hitler as my only purpose is to find an explanation to how did he get that way.

A brief synopsis of the history of anti-Semitism goes back to money lending which was in some way regarded as unclean for Christians and thus Jewish people were relegated to it.  They turned out to be good at it and so resentment began to grow as the banker class of society emerged.  This started somewhere in the 15th / 16th Century and vestiges of it remain today in periodic wild rants about the Rothschild family and how they will take over or have already taken over the world.

This information about Hitler, while still disturbing, is much less mysterious and satanic than it originally seemed.  What I take from it is the same solution is needed for racism anywhere and the answer is unchanged:  education.  Hitler, in this context, is only another example of the consequences of the failure to do it properly and with respect to everyone and everything on the planet.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's Good Enough for Guitar Playing

When things work well enough for guitar playing, it doesn't matter what else doesn't work ... you're cured or, more specifically, I am.

Today's effort wasn't recorded as I wanted to solve a problem with the keyboard and bass overheating the amplifiers by overdriving them.  The problem isn't entirely solved but it's much improved and it will take abuse as the Power Chord voice is like ten thousand chainsaw guitars at once, it's an absolutely beastly voice ... but it's a riot playing with it.

The synth voice didn't overdrive it but the bass did even though it's not sending a distorted sound.  The trick isn't to watch the lights and look for clipping as that won't reveal it and the only way with this kit is through deduction.  That's working but it needs a little bit more revision for the bass.

Then the thinking is, well, there is a loop running with a bass and synth chords so let's hear some guitar.

The bit is at 80 bpm and would be a classical Hall of the Devil King if I had any talent but we aren't particularly looking for any Devil King and the rising of the dead is what we would prefer to avoid in "The End of the World in Fort Worth."

At 120 bpm you're at a natural easy pace.  At 160 bpm you're seriously shakin' it and at 180 bpm you're going to sweat.  But why not just get double kick drums and punch the audience in the face.

The slower beat isn't because it's easier when you're older as that's not true, it isn't easier.  To my taste, it's often more eloquent and that's what I want ... except without the Devil King, he's not necessary for this.

Besides, it's important to be careful with waking the dead just now as Fort Worth got hit by some huge lightning strikes last night and several places burned from the hits.  There was so much electricity pumped into the ground last night the undead will be scratching their way to the surface any minute now.  They're probably just waiting for the cover of night.

If this is the last communication, at least you will know what happened.  Remember before you come:  you can't kill them because they're already dead.

Why Punks at Dallas Safari Club Only Shoot Old and Weak Animals

There is one simple answer to why Dallas Safari Club and other punk ass safari trophy hunters don't shoot healthy animals and it is simple:  healthy animals would have them for lunch.  If you give a small man a big gun, the first thing he will do is find the biggest thing he can kill with it.

Maybe you think you're fast but you're not fast.  Maybe you think Usain Bolt is fast ... but he's lunch too.  A wild boar can run at up to thirty miles per hour ... and ... it can do it for a mile.  Hunters have previously told me the wild boar is an extremely dangerous animal and, based on the content of CNN news comment threads, they're not just faster but also considerably more intelligent than humans.

But a wild boar is only No. 3 for the fastest and maybe you guess the cheetah is the fastest with its top speed of about seventy miles per hour.  That's impressive ... like a high school boy who finally persuades someone to get naked with him for the first time ... and it's over even before the NSA has time to focus their cameras.

Who knows more about running than the people at "Runner's World" and they have compiled a list of the ten of the fastest and most dangerous animals.  (Runner's World:  Outrun the World's Most Dangerous Animals)

Yah, it's a list and we all hate lists but this one also includes how much of a head start you will probably need to avoid becoming an appetizer for one of these animals.  If you're dealing with bears, your best chance is when you start in a different city.

The beauty part of this list is these are only a few of the land creatures which can eat you and there are so many more in the water.  (Blog:  Mediterranean Shark Attacks: You Are Food)

In the final judgment, humans are not lords of creation ... we are lunch.

The typical cop from the Dallas Safari Club is they serve as conservationists by filling the role of the top predator as such creatures never take the strongest and healthiest specimens when they're hunting and that's because they can't catch them.  Why bother when they can get a perfectly good meal without working anywhere near that hard by taking weak or injured members of the herd.

All of that is true about improving the herd by culling the weak ones but that still doesn't make anyone in the Dallas Safari Club a 'top predator' because there's one fundamental difference:  top predators do it out of need whereas the DSC trophy hunters do it for amusement.

Cat, My Back is Feeling Better

Telling Cat my back feels better is not enough.  Much better to show her.

Joaquin Gustav was performing on-stage but my limited photographic skills weren't sufficient to show all three of us.

Last night was the first time back at Cat's Art MusikCircus in nearly two months and there was no plan to do it but there was and it was time for Joaquin to play so ... let's dance!

The RL aspect of this is today is the day of the Hot Bath Which Cures Everything except plagues of telephone solicitors or frogs.  As you all know from your own miserable experience with exactly the same thing, your back is never cured but, much like Jehovah's Witnesses, at least it will go away for a while and I usually get about six months or a year between visits so that's not so bad.

No, I wasn't whining to Cat about it in the background as it's not so long since the same thing happened to her.  I'm tellin' you, it gets us all.

So, uh, do you wanna talk about Intelligent Design?

Tip:  raising that subject with anyone who has recently 'thrown out his / her back' is an exceptionally bad idea.

Friday, June 26, 2015

How to Stop Autoplay for Video on CNN

CNN hit the perfect combination in a Web site in which there's just enough information to make it worth a periodic visit ... and more than enough video to ensure you never come back.  Even better, they're so greedy about it that they force you to accept thirty-second commercials which cannot be halted.

Yes, they can.

The most generic kill is if you go to Safari Preferences and disable Javascript but that will likely break a great many sites, most of which use it responsibly (CNN specifically excluded from that class).  So, that approach will work but it's probably more destructive than you want.

Likely a more preferable although more intensive way to solve the problem is through a selective Javascript Blocker and there are different plugins available for the various browsers.  Whatever plugin gives you the ability to block Javascript by domain name is the one you want as then you can murder the scripts CNN runs and limit the misbehavior of their Web site as much as possible.  This approach will definitely kill the commercials and the feature video as well but it usually has little value as usually it's just talking heads seriously risking brain damage by interpreting the news for us.

Your needs will vary and you may not want the hassle of tuning what you will permit Web sites to do with your browser but controlling Javascript gives the power back to you and is one of your best defenses against abusive Web sites.

CNN is getting murdered for ratings by Fox News.  They will not solve that problem by getting progressively sluttier about what they do for money but I wouldn't bet a dime on the organization surviving if they continue with this.  There's nothing left but the Tabloid Tarpits down the path they have chosen.

Tim Cook and Apple Get it Dead Wrong Regarding the Confederate Flag

By any modern definition, the Confederate army was comprised of terrorists and they needed to be firebombed with the full force of the United States military for the safety and the preservation of the Union.

Moreover, any veteran of the Confederate army was fighting for racism by defending slavery so any trace of his name should be expunged from the historical record to prevent the scourge of racism from continuing to undermine the Union.

Therefore, it is reasonable to remove all references to a Confederate flag in any application in Apple's App Store and this has already taken place by order of Tim Cook who made a statement of intention to assist in eliminating racism in any way he can.

It's a cheesy technique to make a proposal and then undermine it but that's the game this morning as the above is wall-to-wall politically-correct bollocks and it is a full swing of a pendulum from one extreme of behavior to another.  In the former, racism is currently extreme yet it is frequently denied and whitewashed.  However, whitewashing the Civil War and the reasons it was conducted is only substituting one denial for another.

Multiple articles here on the blog have documented how racism became associated with the battle flag of the Confederacy when there was a resurgence in its display at state levels because of the rejection of desegregation, court-ordered busing, etc in the 50's and 60's.

There is a major point people miss in their current fervor for wiping out racism and that's the fact the Civil War was not fought by racists.  In general terms, the Union was fighting to keep the United States whole and prevent secession by the Confederacy whereas General Lee was fighting for states' rights and the principle the states can do whatever the hell they want precisely because this is a Union of republics.

There is a major proof of the above in the fact the Ku Klux Klan did not even exist before the Civil War.  The KKK did start soon after it ended but this would be more appropriately addressed by Cadillac Man as he is well-read on the time of the American Reconstruction (i.e. post-Civil War recovery).

Therefore, I submit removing such things as a Civil War simulation from the App Store does nothing toward defeating racism as the Civil War actually had little to do with it and the rebels who fought in the war had nothing to do with defense of racism.

You don't seriously think the soldiers who fought in it were wealthy, slave-owning plantation owners, do you.  In effect, Apple, along with many others, is trying to rewrite the history of the Civil War and this kind of historical revisionism is vastly more dangerous than the problem they are trying to solve.

Racism is a heinous scourge across the planet and it needs to be solved but the solution is not created in erasure of history, particularly when it is driven by a wild over-reaction to current abuses of the Confederate flag.  I agree the flag should be removed from state facilities and that logic is based on the reason the states put it there in the first place (i.e. opposition to desegregation rather than remembrance) because that reason was adamantly racist.  (Mississippi is, to my knowledge, the only one which has had the Confederate flag as part of the state flag since the Civil War)

Preventing people from selling the Confederate flag on clothing and such is not American freedom as it's an obvious violation of free speech. The only consequence of Amazon banning sales is independent t-shirt makers will have a chance to make a few dollars because they will take up the slack and good for them ... so long as they don't continue the racist tradition created in the 50's and 60's.  Even if they do, it's still free speech as you have a right to be an asshole and I exploit that right frequently although not for that purpose.  Free people also have a right to revile you for doing it and, in my view, censorship takes away that right.

However, it is not free speech in any way to desecrate Civil War memorials nor is it free speech to censor Civil War simulations, etc, both of which examples and multiple others have already taken place.

The Civil War was a major event in American history precisely because of the conflict between the Federal government and the states on the right to government.  Reducing it to a conflict based solely on the matter of racism is inaccurate and destructive because the Civil War was such an important part of the foundations of the philosophy of America.  For example, it's all very well for the Forefathers to propose a union of republics but they didn't really know if it would work.  The Civil War was the test of that principle and what you see today is the result.  Ignoring that process rejects a vital part of what made America and is thus crucially important to preserve.

This is an extreme example but I'm not averse to extremes as we can see ISIS whitewashing their history every time they sandblast religious monuments of great antiquity.  This is all toward what they perceive as their noble ideal ... but their children will regret it nevertheless.

Poland did not sandblast Auschwitz even though the German army put it there in Poland.  Germany would have even more reason to sandblast Dachau but they preserved it.  Germans today have every reason to sandblast it as the Germans living today had nothing to do with those things so why should they pay the price.  They pay it nevertheless.

In one sense, Holocaust deniers would do Germans a favor if they were successful as then Germans wouldn't be bearing the hatred for something they didn't even do.  But no culture rejects that denial with greater resolve than Germany.

And something pithy to wrap it:

truth only comes from remembering history and never in erasing it

I'm sure that's been stated better 
than this groundling can inspire 
but I'm one who's had his say 
and now I shall retire.

Briefly Surfacing to Sample the Air for Radioactivity

Enjoy the combination of a borked back and a lot of coughing.  From that you can write the whole story so I can skip it.

Morning's are grim but it backs off through the day and hopefully tomorrow it lets me go.  That'll be the fourth day of a borked back and that should be quite sufficient.

There are two purposes to surfacing:

Drop some blather into the blog so Cat knows I'm not dead

Feed the cats and Tobey the Dog so they do not become dead.  This is while doddering about making unusual noises although not of an odiferous nature.

The first is now done and now I'm fortified for the second as in not being willing to spend another millisecond in the chair.

I'll return to a horizontal position after feeding the critters and will surface again later.  Things are not entirely horizontal as it goes like this:

Sitting in a chair - sucks ferociously

Playing the synth - not too bad as it's only possible by standing straight and that's helpful

Playing the guitar - no chance as I would keep playing even when it hurts so it's best to leave her sit in the stand for now

There is no, repeat, NO crisis.  I yanked me back.  It hurts.  You know how that goes ... blah, blah, blah.

Maybe there's one more article in me as the Confederate flag situation is bugging me ... but it bugs me more that the critters have not been fed.  If no subsequent article appears, you'll know the critters got fed or I got kidnapped by space aliens while trying to do it.  The latter is unlikely as the space aliens would more likely grab the critters because they would have a higher resale value.

Why This is The Best Blog You Could Possibly Read

There's no question of the premise of the title, it merely needs affirmation every so often.  Therefore, This is the Best Blog You Could Possibly Read because ...

1)  This blog rarely has lists of things

2)  We hate slideshows as much as you hate them ... except we really don't hate anything ... except slideshows

3)  We already know MacKeeper is a worthless piece of crap and will never throw pop-ups at you

4)  We don't want your money ... well ... not all of it but some of it would be ok.  More money than that and we would have to be responsible in how we behave with it and that won't happen.

5)  We don't sell your information to anyone ... but that doesn't help much when Google will do it anyway

6)  We don't track you and, frankly, we don't even know how one would ... but ... we also don't know why one would (i.e. if you're not here then obviously you're wasting time reading something else and it would waste our time to discover how you waste your time ... unless you waste it here)

7)  Our principal (i.e. only) author frequently screws himself up in painful ways and these can be amusing to watch

8)  We never link to sucky sites for money.  There is only one reference on this blog to the site to discover Ten Techniques Arnold Schwarzenegger Used to Enlarge His Penis ... and you just saw that reference.  You will not see another here.

Note:  definition of a 'sucky site' is any Web site which has to pay you to get people to go there.

9)  We never use autoplay for video.  We like to believe the readers are adults even though the principal (i.e. only) author often doesn't act like one.

However ... there is one problem with this otherwise exemplary blog:  YouTube videos do not currently play or even appear for at least one person who uses Firefox to read the blog.

Things We Know:

1)  Current version of Firefox works fine for displaying them on this system but it's Apple and many, shockingly, still use Windows.

2)  Adobe FLASH and my hatred for it have nothing to do with it as the only consequence is I don't use it (i.e. I don't install the plug-in for my browser and that only affects me).

Note:  FLASH is guaranteed to cause frequent WebKit crashes in Safari.  Those stopped altogether after I removed it whereas they had been happening daily when it was still loaded.

Question to You:

1)  Do you use Firefox 38.0.5 which is current highest Firefox level for Mac and, I assume, for Windows but the assumption may not be true.  I do know Kannafoot said he is using the most-current Firefox version for Windows, whatever level number that may be.

If yes, do you have the same problem viewing videos on this blog?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How Does One Stop Dylann Roof

The answer is you don't but The Guardian is running the same old trail that we must.  If only there were sufficient monitoring tools then we could catch all these terrorists and the world will suddenly become safe for everybody.  (The Guardian:  Beyond Dylann Roof: inside the hunt for domestic extremists in the digital age)

The article doesn't go beyond anything and instead wades around in the same ineffective and vastly over-rated spy motif of the last decades.  If we only had enough CCTV cameras, more monitoring tools, better software, more cops, etc, etc then there would be the peace ... which only Big Brother can give us.

The premise is flawed from the outset as there was nothing high-tech, digital, or anything of that nature in what Dylann Roof did.  He was just another dime store malcontent with a gun.  There's no predicting what people like that will do without being as damaged as they.

The solution remains what it has always has been:  equality.  Nothing will make this type of malcontent killing stop unless they don't have a reason to do it.  They can spend all day long coming up with crazy reasons for doing something vicious because there's something they want, they can't get it, and they see it, (insert whichever object you like), as being the cause of it.  Therefore, kill it.

In my view, it's logical such people explode as they do when they see the solution to everything else is to find the problem and shoot it.  Governments do it so why shouldn't I.

Dylann Roof changes nothing about my view as everything comes back to the global requirement everyone needs a fair shot at the brass ring and, right now, people wouldn't even know the ring if they found it.  Success is a Cadillac Escalade ... with one person driving it.

The people who were shot by Dylann Roof will be buried today and there isn't one of them who thought success was a Cadillac Escalade.  Roof would have known that if such people were not drowned out by those who do think a Cadillac Escalade is important.

As to who is responsible for Roof:  all of us.  We didn't give him the guidance he needed.  There are lectures and speeches all over the place but very little guidance.

Dere's a Lime in de Coconut, Dat Dog Eat it All Up (video)

If you never considered what a young boxer dog will think of a slice of lime, this is your lucky day.

Now you know and words aren't quite enough, are they.

If You Think YouTube Doesn't Hate Us, Explain This

The initial frame should be enough of a clue.  You really, really should not click the play button.  You have been warned as you will not be able to purge the memory and some part of your mind may continue to wonder WTF for some while.

Sure, it's funny ... but what if he's serious.

If ever there came a video the people of Westboro Baptist Church should see twenty-four hours a day, this is the one.

Ouchie, Me Achin' Back

This is Day Two of a Limited-Duty Profile (i.e. I ain't doin' nothin') for this PLC (Private Lowest Class).  Everybody over forty who ever lifted anything heavier than an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper in an office knows what 'throwing out your back' means.

Since you already know what it feels like, there's nothing I need to write except to acknowledge it's my turn in the barrel and the whining will be kept to a minimum.

As to lifting nothing but sheets of paper in an office in your life, I'm guessing these ones are even more likely to have back troubles as they get older as there's not much muscle tone and no defense.

Everyone has an individual cleverness for achieving back misery in later years but my favorite was falling in love with a concrete dinosaur.  That aspect wasn't so terrible except (sob) it never did return my love.  The problem part was in my oh so macho thinking I could get such a concrete dinosaur into the garden without assistance.  And that wasn't really the problem either as I did accomplish that task.

But your body remembers stuff like that.  It remembers the day you thought, wow, it would be so cool to have a concrete dinosaur in the garden and it doesn't forgive dumb ass thinking like that.  And it waits.

And waits.

And then there's that little pop in your back.

Down for three or four days again.

And there's no whining as everyone else has their own concrete dinosaur so it happens to everyone.  There's some science behind this in the thinking the human body really isn't fully evolved for standing erect and this is part of the reason for weakness in one's back ... but right now my concrete dinosaur don't care nothin' about science.

It doesn't care about pain medication either.  I will not take muscle relaxers and I won't take any of that codeine poison.  If it's so bad you can't stand it then someone can take you to the E.R. and insist on a shot of IV Valium.  That will get you some sleep and then it'll start to get better.  That codeine is poison and it kills a lot (i.e. a LOT) of Americans.

Note:  Americans are named specifically in that context as those types of drugs are abused in this country more commonly than anywhere else in the world and overdoses kill one hell of a lot of people.  Poison is not an exaggeration.

Google and the All-Seeing Eye

Many reports have appeared regarding abuse of your computer's audio / video hardware capability to capture information which is then harvested somewhere else.  The latest report is because Google has installed code in its Chrome browser which performs that function.  Their defense is the user has the ability to opt in or out of the function.  (The Guardian:  Google eavesdropping tool installed on computers without permission)

Google's claims are specious as authorization is irrelevant when someone is trying to use software on your computer for a nefarious purpose.  When someone has hacked into your computer already, that hacker is hardly likely to ask permission of various utilities before it uses their services.

It's a medium to high probability that NSA, GCHQ, etc have their own hacks for exploiting the hardware in your computer but doesn't open a season on anyone embedding this type of software in your computer.  Software to monitor the audio / video of your computer is just about as invasive as your computer can get.

I hear too often 'well, I have nothing to hide' when people are queried about monitoring. That acceptance is almost as disturbing to me as the intrusions.  Any reader of sci-fi knows how often this theme comes up in future visions and there hasn't been one yet which came out well from it.  This is the same type of passivity which led to the rise of NAZI Germany as people did not realize what was happening until it was too late to stop it.

One question not at all uncommon in German art, particularly music, of the last thirty years at least is 'why did they let it happen?'  There's a perception elsewhere in the world that modern Germans just blew it off but that's not at all true and they ask that question more than anyone else anywhere.  That lesson from them generally and Cat in particular is a large part of why I ask it so relentlessly now.

My offense is they take something without asking.  There's nothing to hide here either but that doesn't make it ok for anyone to look any time they feel like it.  Fundamental to America from the very earliest days was protection against illegal search but now any Tom, Dick, or Google can do it.  NO!

Google admits the software is there and does what privacy advocates say it does.  Google does not admit the software can be activated without user consent and apparently they expect people to believe that.

When insidious monitoring software of this nature is embedded in your computer's software, the agent to put it there becomes the tool of those who seek to implant such code for their own nefarious purposes.

That it may require user authorization is irrelevant when no hack will pay any attention to authorization and the hack is made all the easier by the presence of what has, in effect, become hacker code in or near the system kernel.  In other words, the hacker's hardest job is already done.

Ronald, apologies if you consider the tag inappropriate but I'm curious if your estimation of this code is the same.  (The link will go to Ronald's Facebook profile)

My assessment is the same.  Unfortunately, doing anything online without Google getting its paws on you in some fashion is near impossible, these days.  They are by far the most intrusive anti-privacy organization that is publicly known.  I remember when we were all upset about companies installing root kits when you installed their software.  That's child's play compared to what Google manages to accomplish.  The consent issue is laughable since virtually all users rubber stamp the acceptance of all terms.  The only way to maintain any level of privacy is to simply not have a computer, a phone, a tablet, or any other device that connects to the outside world.  Not even current TV models are immune thanks to the popularity of "smart TVs."  I don't know where all of this will lead, but I'm quite certain it's not a destination most people will like when we get there.

In the above, you have views from the Left and the Right and neither side is liking the vision.  On that basis, this would not be such a bad time for y'all yellowhammers out there to get to doin' some hammering.

(Ed:  yellowhammer?)

Don't get insulted too quickly.  A yellowhammer is a small yellow bird and its song is possibly part of what inspired Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.  There's no joke in it but I find a supreme irony that a tiny little bird can inspire what may well be the greatest piece of music ever written.

So, yah, y'all yellowhammers ... let's hear a bit (i.e. a lot) more hammering.  The Fifth is also known as the Victory Symphony so let's see some real victories and Elvis Costello knew best what gives those.

CNN and a JukeBox Which Has No Good Songs

There was an interesting story about Obama slapping down someone arrogant enough to try to heckle him in the White House.  His response to it was good but there was no way to read the article on CNN because a video with Wolf Blitzer talking about the matter was followed by a non-interruptible commercial which was much louder than the previous commentary.  Reading was impossible and continuing was pointless.

And so Marshall McCluhan's idea 'the medium is the message' has come to its unfortunate peak in which the medium prevents the message.

Note:  I realize that's what McCluhan was saying originally but this is far past the distortions he was seeing when he was writing so long ago.

This one gets chalked up to the same greed as most of the other problems of the current age.  CNN is trying to force really demanding commercial videos on you and these are at least as intrusive and annoying as the ones which drove you away from television in the first place.  The most annoying thing about them is there is no way to stop them ... save one:  exit the CNN web site.

At one time CNN was my primary source of news but the quality has fallen so far that it's in roughly the same category of low-quality parody as Fox News.

The biggest problems in it:

1)  It's always faster to read content than to listen to Wolf Blitzer or any other journo rambling and trying to be dramatic about it.  There is no personal aspect to this as he's just another hack journo in an online news world which crawls with them ... but ... he wastes my time in video.  Amazingly enough, I came to the article to discover what's in it and that doesn't mean I have any interest in whether Wolf Blitzer has his beard well-trimmed.

2)  The commercials CNN runs are louder, longer, and, worst of all, are impossible to interrupt without closing the page.  This kind of greed may be sufficient to kill the site altogether as the only relief from the way CNN presents news is to go to a better site.  Perhaps CNN thinks that won't happen but The Guardian is my immediate jump every time CNN pisses me off and Russia Today is for when I want high-quality, well-researched news.

The Guardian typically has a higher proportion than RT of batcrap news from journos of Jessica Valenti's ilk.  Example:  Tight jeans are bad for you but I will wear them anyway.  In English that means Jessica tells us she has a great-looking backside.  What she doesn't realize is her articles are not interesting enough to make me care about her backside.  Wiggling yer ass only gets the simple ones, girly.

(Ed:  Abby Martin has an outstanding backside)

Yah and she is one scary smart female as well as I'm betting otherwise you never would have looked, matey.

3)  CNN is distorting news through its omissions.  Jill Stein declared her candidacy for President of the United States two days ago.  I know you didn't see mention of it on CNN as the story was not covered.  It almost certainly wasn't covered on Fox News as Jill Stein represents The Green Party in America and the absence of even an attempt at fair coverage shows well how far democracy has fallen.

Ironically, Jill Stein is easily the sexiest candidate on the 2016 Presidential Tour.  Some may dismiss that thought due to her grey hair but take a look at her eyes.  I don't mean anything even remotely facetious in the statement.

But most of all it's those infinitely-annoying CNN videos.  That news site has become so irritating you could use it to torture war criminals.

And maybe that's it as we're all complicit to what happens in the Middle East so that makes all of us co-conspirators to war crime and thus CNN is our punishment for it.  All the while Fox News laughs as if it got a joke no-one else understood.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Call From the MIS (Men In Slack)

The cellphone rings and I stupidly (i.e. what other motivation could there be) answer it.  I can't quite make out the first part and it asks me to stay online for an operator to assist with my request.  I have no idea what request but I await enlightenment.

Horrible telephone music ensues and is subsequently broken when the promised operator asks, "How can I help you?"

I reply, "Perhaps you can tell me as you made the call."

The operator throws another question, "Are you Willy Sutton?"  (Not the real name requested.  Sutton was a famous bank robber.)

So I informed him, "No.  Willy Sutton was eaten by seagulls.  I'm sorry."

"Is this not the number for Willy Sutton?" asks the operator.

"Inasmuch as I am not Willy Sutton, I assume that answer is no."

The operator, somewhat-defensively, says, "The computer determines the names and numbers to call."

What else should I say, "It looks like you need a new computer."

Comes the quick reply, "It's a good computer."

And my response, "It certainly does a good job today and I would tell Willy myself if he had not been eaten by seagulls."

(Click from operator end)

"Capricorn One" - Crashed on Take-Off

The premise for "Capricorn One" is NASA fakes a mission to Mars through the use of a sound stage to film it like a movie to present via Houston Mission Control as fact.  There's no sci-fi to that as it's really a murder/mystery with a rocket ship and I thought the idea was kind of flat so I never watched it.

Right off the top I've got my own Mission Control situation as I see O.J. Simpson's face in a close-up as one of the astronauts so right away there's a question of aborting the mission.  He didn't say anything so I rolled with it and the movie ran for maybe forty minutes before he ever said anything.

In many ways the movie was not a disappointment so long as you accept the ludicrous premise NASA would really do this and have any chance of successfully getting away with it.  The flow of it more or less made sense and some really big stars made interesting work of it.

But ...

There was such a blindingly obvious pooch screw so early in the movie that it was dead in the starting gate for me.  In the first video of the astronauts on the surface of Mars, the camera is turned to look at Brubaker, the mission lead.  There's a glare from the Sun in the face shield of his helmet and the size of it is obviously much too big for them to really be on Mars.  Anyone who has watched thirty-eight seconds of a network astronomy show with the TV Kings of Physics would likely know that.

Maybe it's a nitpick but still I think it was a really dumb detail to miss when they were attentive to many others.  They used a switch to slow-motion for the video of jumping from the landing craft's ladder to the ground and it was clever how they showed them working that aspect of it from the studio (i.e. one astronaut has to stop moving while the video goes to slow-motion for the other or the trick would be revealed).

The mistake bugs me because a Mars launch would have more photographers observing than a Girls Gone Wild world tour.  The mistake with the Sun in the face shield would have been spotted for sure. It's not so much the issue of a pooch screw as one so esoteric it's not reasonable for it to be detected doesn't matter much but this one seemed impossible for any photographer to miss.

So this one gets the Award for Glossiest Western Dressed-Up to Look Like a Sci-Fi Movie because most of the time the astronauts are struggling about in the American West.

There's also the Award for Most Sexually-Disappointing Imitation Sci-Fi Movie and this is because there's a lot of talking of jumping Karen Black ... but it never happens.

End of the World in Fort Worth or End of the Universe

There was another tangle with the song yesterday only this time it's not the Galaxy Guitar answering Gabriel's horn but rather the synth.  There are no drums until I start making a loop so the voice can sound plaintive.  What made it unusual was using a Power Chord voice by Korg and using that on the lowest F0 is so deep you can practically count the waves going past.

In kicking up a loop, the drums came in behind two notes in unison, two octaves apart, at the bottom of the keyboard.  That unison got somewhat prog rock-ish and with huge power.  The original riff from Gabriel works fine over the top of it when it's time to do it.  The sound is subtle like a Big Mac, tho.  It's a million calories of high-cholesterol in yer face.

But I was liking it and you damn sinners like a Big Mac once in a while too.  That leads us to today's Deep Thought ... would Jesus eat a Big Mac?

But I digress ...

(Ed:  keep asking questions like that and your Universe is going to burn up real quick)

There's good evidence it burned up already but it does somehow, miraculously, remain loud.

A friend of serious religious commitment has speculated God has not fried me with lightning because he finds it funny to watch what lunatic thing I will find to mess myself up the next time.  This must mean I have achieved spiritual Nirvana and I've become God's Jerry Lewis.  That must mean there's a Dino out there somewhere so save yerself, buddy.  You know that lightning is coming.

What if Ludwig van played this instrument.  Two things have brought tears to the eyes of one of my brothers:  the death of Ayrton Senna and the concert by Humble Pie at Music Hall in Cincinnati which got rock music banned from that esteemed location for about twenty years.  Through tears of happiness, he recalls amplifiers stacked to the ceiling and the whole place shaking so much it seemed the entire thing would come down.

But ...

Ludwig van with a modern synthesizer is my pick for bringing the walls down by himself.  To get deep as with a synth, you would need a live bassoon section the size of a football field.  Now he can have that by pushing a button.

Or, more accurately, I can.

(Ed:  I already mentioned this and I hate to do it again but there is still that ridiculously tiny little problem)

That I'm not Ludwig van?

(Ed:  that's the one)

Well, you know ... that leads us to today's Second Deep Thought:  do mice dream?

Passing of Confederate Flags Upstaged By Passing of Pink Flamingos

When even Mississippi is making the move to having the Confederate flag removed from its state flag, it's likely a safe bet the Confederate flag really will disappear from state programs ... and won't just be renamed The C-Flag in the news so it can be used as much as it ever was.

Mississippi, to my limited knowledge, is the only state which has made the Confederate flag part of its history in the way others have claimed.  The Confederate flag was incorporated into the state flag of Mississippi in the 19th Century and has remained there throughout.  As much as I can tell, all the others resurrected it during the times of desegregation and that association, in my view, is why it dies now.

But there's much more solemn news than that as Donald Featherstone has died.  Surely most of you studied his life at some point during your education as he is the man, the genius, behind the invention of pink plastic flamingos for your lawn.  (CNN:  Donald Featherstone, creator of flamingo lawn decor, dies)

It may not surprise you to know there were pink flamingos in my garden but maybe it will surprise you to know I did not put them there.

Take a bow, Mystery Lady!

She didn't simply put pink flamingos in the garden as she gave them the jewelry and other accoutrements a pink flamingo of high fashion really needs.

This is a solemn and a sad moment ... but ... perhaps there's a solution to ease the sadness for people in a great many ways.  Rather than simply removing the Confederate flag, would it not be better to replace it with something.

Why not replace it with something with a much more intimate and long-standing association with freedom: the pink flamingo.  It's a demonstrable and immediately-observable fact that the first thing to disappear in a police state will be the pink flamingos.

Were there pink flamingos in NAZI Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, or Dick Cheney's garden?

I rest my case.  The time is NOW for the Flag of the Pink Flamingo.

Orange is the New Black ... and the Old "L" Word

CNN runs cheesy batcrap headlines because yokels will look at them ... specifically yokels such as myself.  From that pointless exercise, I did learn one thing:  it's possible to be even more of a yokel than someone who reads such yokel headlines.  Yep, it's possible to injure yourself in a sex scene ... but not by having sex ... by sticking yourself ... (drum roll) ... with your name tag.  (CNN:  'Orange Is the New Black's' Taylor Schilling injured during sex scene)

Previously my only knowledge of the show was it turns up too much on the news and therefore people regard it as some kind of fashion but anything that common cannot possibly be fashionable so I never pursued it.

However, the yokel headline baited this yokel and I had to discover how it's possible to be so clumsy as to hurt yourself having sex.  Reading that item revealed how the show got to the top:  they copied "The L Word" to a jail and got a whole lot more L's.   Now people can watch them all have sex and I assume they do it generally with more success than Ms Schilling.

The evolutionary beat goes on ... not so much for humanity but I'm sure it beats on somewhere.

(Ed: tell me you don't like girl sex!)

Since I'm not a girl, I can tell you emphatically I have no idea if I like girl sex.

(Ed: tell me you don't like watching girl sex!)

See, precision is the answer.  Yes, I do like watching girl sex and "The L Word" was a sexy and sensual show but it was also provocative in more ways than that.  Perhaps "Orange is the New Black" has more to offer than girl kisses but I confess I'm not interested enough to discover if that's true.

I haven't even caught up on Season 8 of "The Big Bang Theory" and, frankly, I don't know if I will after the heartbreak of the passing of Mrs Wolowitz.  In English that means she died but she really did and much too young.  The cast gave her a lovely send-off in the show but I didn't watch another one after that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ceres is Not an Asteroid But Rather the Command Ship

NASA has speculated on the nature of various bright spots on the surface of the large asteroid, Ceres, which its spacecraft, Dawn, approaches now.  Some scientists offer the possibility the strikingly-bright areas were created by meteor impacts and the bright material is a set of rays radiating from a central impact crater.

That does not explain, however, why the bright spots from this distance in space look just about the same as Las Vegas from roughly the same distance.

Photograph from Chris Reher on Twitter

The city explanation does appear to be sound but this does not necessarily explain the three-mile-high pyramid observed elsewhere on the surface of Ceres.

Photograph from NASA/JPL-Caltech

If we stick with the Las Vegas explanation from above then a closer look at the pyramid should reveal Donald Trump's name on it with the biggest lettering in the solar system.

Most likely the Las Vegas explanation is partially-correct but the lights aren't casinos.  Instead they are the running lights of a spacecraft with the pyramid being the command and control center for approaching the planetoid.  Such a central hub needs to be easily-visible so approaching spacecraft can find it regardless of which specific communications frequencies are used for any chosen ship.

The way Ceres works as a spacecraft is the designers invented a device with the capability to perform molecular transduction on solid materials.  Through use of this device on a global scale they were able to create, five miles below the surface, a layer around the entire planetoid which is comprised of a new material with extraordinary compressive properties.

In function, the layer of new material worked as a planetary shock absorber to prevent or greatly reduce the impact to the central spacecraft from random meteors striking the surface.  This coincidentally provided an exceptional defense from military attack as any assault must penetrate five miles of rock before it even scratches them.

Another aspect of the defensive nature of the layer of modified rock in Ceres is all of the material from there to the surface serves to insulate the spacecraft against broadcasting electronically into space around it and giving away its presence.  This is how the spacecraft has remained undetected for so long.

We can see from the surface how the spacecraft has withstood major assaults as some of those craters are many miles across.  However, the pilots of the spacecraft were capable of defending the ship even against forces capable of causing such enormous damage as is shown by the lights still shining.

I Will Not Execute Dylann Roof - I Will Do Much Worse

Be my guest to call it torture if you like but I'd make damn sure that little bastard knows every detail of every headline as that Confederate battle flag comes down.  How do you like your race war now, you twisted mutant.  I'd Clockwork Orange that bitch with the headlines read to him over and over and not because I'll let him out - I won't - this is to ensure he will never forget.  It's rare to see such unity of purpose as in taking down the Confederate flag so I hope no-one ever forgets why.  It's not to take down what it was but rather what it became.

Dylann Roof is an amateur for evil as I won't hurt your body but rather will go after your mind and introduce you to a world of pain you cannot possibly imagine.

You don't want me seeking vengeance as your death penalty is nothing next to what I would do to them.  You let them off easy.

(Ed:  what right do you have for seeking vengeance?)

By right of the image he planted in my mind, one more horrifying than anything I've seen in an extremely long time.  I'm inured to the savagery of the Middle East as it never seems to stop.  This wasn't the Middle East but a church prayer room with little old ladies who probably knew outstanding recipes for cobbler and also got together to make quilts ... or they were still as sharp as they ever were as firecracker li'l activists.  How should I know but he sat there with these little old ladies for an hour and then cold-bloodedly wasted them.

His Clockwork Orange is having no other source of any information for the rest of his life beyond every detail of the lives he took from the people in that room.  They will become the best friends he will ever have or can ever possibly have and all that while he will know what he did to them.

Death is easy.

There is a church which is not much bigger than a house and you can find it on a back road in Tennessee with native trees growing up all around it.  In Tennessee that means it really is nestled in the woods with trees everywhere.  The church is old and is painted entirely white to keep it looking fresh.

The congregation is a small group of older black people and I would see them sometimes in driving by because they would have their time talking to each other while they enjoyed the sun outside after a service.  Even though I was not a part of it, the communion they had was clear and was all part of that warm sunshine.  This was a place of a sanctity and peace and of perfect safety, way out in the woods.

If Timothy McVeigh were alive today, he would be hearing military marching bands through all twenty-four hours with a replay of the explosion precisely at the top of every hour.  At first he will dig it because he's a vicious mutant bastard.  After a while he will dread it.  He will start counting the time down until when it comes.  He will be begging for the explosions to stop but he knows they never will because he's the one who caused them.  After that his mind will explode like that Federal building.

That woman who drove her car into a lake because God told her or some other twisted excuse.  Three kids died and she didn't.  Pictures of those kids will flash in her cell every minute of the day and night.

You definitely don't want me running this stuff.

Your death penalty??  Pfft ... is nothing, is no punishment at all.

WIKIPEDIA - The One Real Success of Open Source?

Wikipedia is used as a reference source for this blog many, many times.  It's not countless times as the number could be counted, I just couldn't be bothered to do it.  Therefore, we go with 'many, many'  as the only other choice is to get a real count and that's not going to happen.

Note:  it could be possible.  Maybe I export the blog as that writes the entire thing to a single file.  Open that and 'find wikipedia.org' should give a hit count.  If I don't get lazy then I will update with the number later.

Update:  289

Socialism is a favorite theme here and Wikipedia is one outstanding example of it as there are few things so socialized insofar as anyone can update the content.  There's a wee bit of bureaucratic process to get it started and it's necessary or it would decay into the kind of anonymous thuggery of a CNN news comment thread.  Besides ... alles sind Deutscher in unsere Herzen (all are Germans in our hearts).

(Ed:  wtf?)

There was a warning the other day in a video authored by a young German man who advises us on the kind of Ausländer (foreigner) who should stay home.  He specifically said don't come if you can't handle the bureaucracy.  We don't exactly love our bureaucracy but we've got it and if you can't handle that then you probably won't enjoy Germany much.

Google became the repository for Where to Go to Find Stuff but the one thing it can't find is the only entity ever to have used Bing.  Google has captured a tremendous amount of information but it doesn't have much value as knowledge except in a commercial sense and for some esoteric fields of sociology and psychology, maybe others as well ... dunno.

Wikipedia became the repository for Where to Go to Learn Stuff from a cadre with a high level of accreditation.  There is no replacement for degree programs but Wikipedial, for my purpose, serves better than anything else I've ever seen for a survey course of just about anything.

Note:  a 'survey course' is a type of class usually offered to freshmen in university and this is the introductory survey of the field.  Sometimes people refer to Chemistry 101 or Biology 101 and that's the same type of thing in offering a survey of Chemistry or Biology.

In my life, the degrees I did not get are much more obvious to me than any I did and this is where Wikipedia serves so wonderfully for me.  I can get the survey course on any mad topic that may come to me and I don't even have to leave the chair.  Unless your purpose is to go on to research, in many cases the survey course is all you need.

All of the above is a lead into a pitch to support Wikipedia.   They aren't running a campaign just now and they run them rarely.  All I could kick toward the last was five dollars but a good socialism means that's all anyone has to do ... so long as a lot of people do it.

Fluoridation Adds Yet Another Hoax to the Collection

Water fluoridation does for your health what Washington does for your health (i.e. nothing).  This has been a Great Truth of American Dentistry for decades but, what do you know, it's hogwash.  There would have been just as much of a drop in the incidence of dental caries without fluoride in the water and it's shown by World Health Organization data.  (Fluoride Action Network:  TOOTH DECAY TRENDS IN FLUORIDATED VS. UNFLUORIDATED COUNTRIES)

Note:  everything about the Fluoride Action Network pages screams 'Watch out for Aluminum Hats' but the charts are drawn from WHO data.  It appears to be a site with good information that's managed to make itself look less credible than it otherwise might.

Our self-esteemed colleague in dissidence took great offense regarding my failure to know this and maybe it's the only paper he ever wrote.  I make videos all the time and people don't watch them so our new colleague might consider getting used to the New Age.  It's not about pyramids and George Winston but rather about growing boobs, bleaching your hair blonde, and singing about pick-up trucks so you can be the new Taylor Swift.  Do that and you will get some attention, for talking about fluoride there is not likely so much.

Yesterday, The Guardian asked 'Is There Anything Taylor Swift Can't Do' and there's one immediate answer: she has yet to be interesting.  Where music has become a mayonnaise sandwich, Taylor Swift is the low-cal mayo substitute used as the spread.

We had Grace Slick and the Millennials got Taylor Swift.  The hoax in this one is they don't even know they got hoaxed.

Caitlyn Jenner is my current favorite hoax and it's got nothing to do with transgender but rather what is this bozo doing.  I noticed maybe on CNN there's an article about Father's Day with Caitlyn Jenner.  That's not the hoax either as who cares what she does on Father's Day but the next headline could be the Caitlyn Jenner cooking show and that's going to put people off eating.

The hoax with Caitlyn Jenner isn't about the body as now she can bone people she couldn't bone previously and so what.  There's hardly a news breakthrough in a sixty-year-old story.  The hoax is that Caitlyn Jenner's head ever had anything interesting in it.

Now if Wendy Carlos were to do a show to talk about what she encountered in transgender conversion, that could be interesting even when I have no interest in the actual process.  Walter Carlos had established a solid name for himself for "Switched-On Bach" when he brought a Moog synthesizer and more cables than a NASA moon launch command center to Bach's music.  Wendy Carlos never achieved an equivalent level of name recognition and her thoughts on that matter could be of interest.  What happened there.

Instead we get Caitlyn Jenner making chocolate chip cookies.  Kee-rist.

The DEA War With Drugs is yet another hoax as no entity ever did anything so destructive to management of heroin in Russia and Europe as undoing the Taliban's ban of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.  Since U.S. invaded Afghanistan, poppy cultivation has returned to pre-Taliban levels and Afghanistan is again the biggest producer of heroin in the world with much of it going north to Russia.

In strategic effect, the destruction of Afghanistan appears a Trojan Horse with little purpose beyond facilitating the heroin flow into Russia.

Part of it was about a gas pipeline to go through Afghanistan and terminate in Pakistan but I don't think it was ever completed.  Other than the heroin, there's very little actual accomplishment in Afghanistan but that was a resounding success ... so long as you don't care about a radical increase in the availability of heroin in the world.

The latest Incredibly Boring Hoax is in Ukraine as here's yet another example of mindless American imperialism as they collapse another country and Nixon is still bombing Hanoi, even after almost fifty years.

Say there, Tricky Dick, it didn't work in Hanoi, it's not working in the Middle East, and, in fact, it hasn't worked anywhere.  Of course he doesn't get bored with the endless sequels to the same moronic and infinitely-hackneyed show as his dead ass doesn't have to watch them.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Confederate Flag In Process of Formal Burial

Hat tip to Lindsey Graham for doing the right thing and doing it first by earlier today making the announcement he wants the Confederate flag gone from the South Carolina capitol building.

(Unknown what happened in the background or if it would have happened anyway)

Next comes the announcement the current Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, will make the formal statement and she delivered the message well that it's time for the Confederate flag to go.

The was no equivocation in either statement and that alone makes them remarkable in the current political environment.  This seems more than political stunt-flying and it will really happen.

(Unknown if an unusual coincidence but more news comes)

Wal-Mart announces they will no longer carry Confederate flag merch in their stores.  They must be the biggest outlet for cheap t-shirts in the Universe other than the east coast of Florida so any change in their buying makes a loud statement.

There may be some stunt-flying in Lindsey Graham's statement as he steals a march on other contenders for the GOP nomination by a strong statement on the matter toward an immediate goal in South Carolina which was immediately taken up within the state.  The other Presidential candidates had made only mealy-mouthed statements to no particular end.  I still wouldn't vote for him but he may have set the other candidates to grinding their teeth a bit.

The irony is none of this had to happen.  Using the Battle Flag of the Confederacy for something other than what it is (i.e. it wasn't the formally-adopted flag of the Confederate States), General Lee's war flag, was a huge tactical error.

It wasn't until the time of desegregation that it started showing up on capitol buildings, license plates, etc and this is what shamed the initial symbol of resistance, notwithstanding the resistance was coming from slave-owning states.  The Confederate flag was not inherently racist when it was originally flown but it became that way through the association with resistance to desegregation and that, in my view, is why it pays for the price for it now.  I doubt it will recover except on a few knock-off copies of the car from "The Dukes of Hazzard" but not much else.

We can watch the devolution of a battle flag into yard sale kitsch before our eyes.